Can CPAP cause wrinkles?


Looking at CPAP Mask

There may be many concerns when using a CPAP machine during your sleep, new users might have a wealth of questions before beginning use of this equipment. One of the main questions which is raised by CPAP users is in regards to whether the masks are to blame for marks on the face or wrinkling of the skin.

This is a perfectly reasonable concern to have, these revolutionary pieces of equipment are designed to give us a restful and uninterrupted sleep, yet if we are waking with lines and marks on the face, the night of peaceful sleep is hardly noticeable.

In this article, we are going to be taking a look at whether using a CPAP mask will leave any visible lines on the face, and how this can be avoided.

Do CPAP Masks Cause Wrinkles?

There is some evidence to suggest that the long term use of the CPAP mask can change the structure of the patient’s face as well as causing visible lines and marks on the surface of the skin. This is, of course something that no one wants but throwing out the CPAP isn’t a realistic option.

If you have been given a CPAP mask by your doctor, there is good reason for this and it is important to follow through in using it. That being said, it wouldn’t be fair to allow your appearance to suffer, so is there anything that can be done about this? The simple answer, is yes!

How To Avoid Face Marks And Lines With A CPAP Mask

There are two types of marks which may appear on the face as a result of using a CPAP mask. The first are temporary marks which as caused from the pressure of having the mask on your face throughout the night. This can be compared to leaning on a textured surface and on pulling away, the pattern is ingrained on your skin. You will likely have experienced this and will know that after some minutes or hours, these marks will disappear. The same can be said for these types of marks from a CPAP mask.

The second type of mark that you may notice are more permanent ones and these are as a result of the skin being tugged and pulled at by your CPAP mask. When stress is put on the skin for lengthy periods of time, over a long period of time, it can end up wrinkling. This happens to the best of us naturally as we age but having it happen prematurely through the use of something that is designed to help us, isn’t pleasant. You might compare these types of wrinkles to those gained through a repetitive action, such as those seen around the mouths of smokers (although smoking is not something we would recommend!)

Neither of these types of marks or wrinkles are particularly appealing, but the good news is that there are measures you can take as a way of preventing them, this will benefit you by still allowing for a great night’s sleep as well as looking the part too! Let’s take a look at some handy tips for avoiding marks and lines whilst using your CPAP mask.

Tips For Avoiding Marks And Lines With Your CPAP Mask

Ensure Your Mask Is Not Too Tight

It can be tempting to fit your mask on tightly as a way of avoiding it moving or slipping while you sleep, and whilst it is a very good idea to make sure that the mask is secure, it isn’t such a good idea to have it so tight that you risk causing lines and wrinkles on your face.

If you mask is fitted too tightly, wrinkles won’t be your only problem, you might also notice that the mask leaks which is completely counter-productive to its primary use. On top of this a mask which is too tight can be very uncomfortable and result in a bad sleep as well as lines on the face.

When fitting your mask, it is important to tighten the mask slowly and just a little bit at a time until you reach a point where you have a good seal and a comfortable fit.

Does Your Mask Fit Correctly?

For many people, the leading cause of lines on the face after using a CPAP mask is that the mask does not fit correctly. Of course, the less mask that is sitting on the skin, the less marks will appear – that’s basic logic. However, the type of mask you use will depend on what ends up connecting with your face.

As a rule of thumb, we can make a selection from four different types of face mask, these are the nasal pillows which are inserted into the nostrils, the nasal mask which is worn over the nose, a full face mask which is worn over both the nose and the mouth and finally the total face mask which is worn across the entire face. As you can imagine, the larger masks are more likely to leave an imprint and so if you don’t need a larger mask, why wear one when you can opt for something smaller?

Mask Liners

There is the option to try a mask liner which is a comfortable and soft cushion which sits between the mask and the skin of your face, allowing for greater prevention of marks and lines.

These mask liners are also great for anyone who find that their skin becomes to prone to breakouts or abrasions from rubbing when wearing their CPAP mask.

There are a variety of liners on the market, each of which are tailored to individual needs from simple comfort all the way through to avoiding allergic reactions to the plastic from which the mask is made.

CPAP Gel

If mask liners aren’t you thing then you might consider using a CPAP gel which is designed to soothe the skin from any irritation caused by wearing the mask. You might be concerned that the moisture may cause the mask’s seal to be broken, but there is no issue with this as these gels are designed to be used with the CPAP with no disruption to it’s function.

Most of the CPAP gels contain aloe vera which is known for its intense skin care properties such as deep moisturisation, having moisturised skin allows for better elasticity, therefore much lower chances of developing lines and wrinkles as a result of your mask.

Alter Your Sleeping Position

Many of use have adapted a preferred sleeping position over many years, this natural position that we get into when we first get into bed is comforting and it’s hard to think about changing it. However,if your sleeping position is one which causes added pressure on the mask, for example sleeping with you face pushed deeply into the pillow, this may contribute to more severe lines and marks on the face, both short term and long term.

The best position for avoiding these pesky marks is lying on your back. This is the only position which eliminates any additional pressure on the mask at all. However, if sleeping on your back is not comfortable, then it might be worth experimenting with some other positions.

Get The Latest Model

If it is possible, it may be worth thinking about upgrading to a more up to date mask. With new ones coming out all the time, the newer designs are much more beneficial when it comes to preventing lines and wrinkles.

These new masks feature built in cushioning and much more flexible head gear, meaning that the chances of any lines are greatly reduced. However, if getting the most innovative new design isn’t a possibility, you might decide to try a cloth mask which can put much less pressure on the skin yet still deliver the assistance you require through the night.

Replace The Cushions

The cushions on your mask can get worn over time and this can have an effect on whether lines are present on the face upon waking in the morning. By simply replacing these cushions, you are likely to notice a dramatic decrease in skin wrinkles.

Aside from this, it is also very important to ensure that the cushions are kept clean. It might seem ridiculous but dirt on the cushions can play a part in two ways, first of all it can cause your skin to become oily, in turn making the mask slip which can disrupt the skin it is sitting on. Also the dirt itself can decrease the effect of the cushion and so a simple clean can make all the difference.

Conclusion

Wearing a CPAP mask at night is essential for many people, however there are problems that come along with it. One such problem is the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the face as a result of the pressure of the mask on the skin.

It might seem hopeless at first, but there are plenty of ways in which you can reduce, or eliminate these lines altogether. These handy tips will help you to get the most out of your CPAP mask alongside ensuring that your skin looks at its best every morning.

 

Dan

Dan was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2017 when he was only 32 years old. He has been using a BIPAP machine for his treatment. He hopes to provide a patient's perspective on the sleep apnea experience. Dan lives in Tampa with his girlfriend and 2 dogs.

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